EE 4G Brings High Speed Internet To Rural Cumbria For First Time

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

Follow on: Google +

EE 4G expands to cover 100 square miles of the Northern Fells

Homes and businesses across the Northern Fells in Cumbria will receive high speed Internet access for the first time after EE 4G announced plans to expand its LTE service across much of the region.

The UK’s only current 4G operator says that its network will cover 100 square miles and serve more than 2,000 residents, or 84 percent of the total population.

EE has been running a trial in Cumbria since May 2012, offering consistent speeds of between 8 and 12 Mbps, with some participants recording performance in excess of 20Mbps.

The Northern Fells area currently has no comparable fixed broadband connection despite having the highest concentration of home workers in the UK. Local organisations say that access to the faster speeds of EE 4G will transform lives and improve the local economy.

EE 4G Cumbria rollout

Northern Fells Cumbria, © Bobble Hat at the English language Wikipedia“This is a major step forward for my constituents. Superfast broadband is making a massive difference to the way that people live their lives and do business,” said Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and Borders. “The 4G trial that started last year has already made a substantial difference to people in the Northern Fells community, and it is a hugely positive step to see this being moved to a full launch over the coming months.”

”Cumbria is an area that has so much to offer, with so much innovation and ambition and so many successful businesses, working locally, nationally, and on a global basis,” added John Grainger, Managing Director at Invest in Cumbria. “For many years we have lobbied companies and governments to bridge the digital divide to connect Cumbria, yet a lack of investment and commitment from service providers has for too long left us technologically isolated.

“EE delivering high speed broadband connectivity to large parts of the Northern Fells is great progress and a big moment for us – this will be a massive benefit to the local community, changing the way we live and do business.”

LTE service have long been considered as a way of providing high speed Internet access to rural areas where fixed broadband connections are not considered feasible.

The government has set aside £530 million under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme to improve speeds in areas which would not be otherwise served commercially. All of the money up for grabs has so far been won by BT after Fujitsu withdrew from the procurement process last week.

Are you up to speed on 4G? Try our quiz!